Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bye, Bye, Osama, and Adios to Our Souls

I am not a cheering type, and in spite of the noise being made on t.v., radios, and the streets (seemingly a contest as to who can beat their chests and scream the loudest), the death of Osama bin Laden does nothing for this country but settle a score on a massacre in which we already had in custody the actual planner and organizer of the attack.

There is one thing that has happened as a result of this assassination, which is what this was, regardless of what else we call it.  It now sets the precedence that our government (and by extension any government with the power to get away with it) can legitimately invade the national territory of any other country and kill someone that we do not like.  This is not to defend bin Laden.  He needs no defense.  As a person, he lived a wretched and deluded life.  He killed thousands and because of that I cannot find it within me to mourn him (anymore than Father Geoghan).

However odious he may have been in life, however, we are still or we are supposed to be living in something like a free society, a society predicated on the rule of law.  Can one say that Osama (who was not even born in this country) was any worse of a person morally than Jeffrey Dahmer?  Notice, Dahmer received a trial for his acts of murder, but if you are labeled a terrorist one need not worry about such distinctions anymore.  You can be branded a 'combatant' deserving instantaneous death, regardless of whether you are a combatant at the time of your death.  Ask yourself, if being unarmed in a house in Pakistan, without a uniform or country, operating as a private killer, makes you a combatant on par with a member of the Imperial Japanese Army at Iwo Jima, how can one then be upset at any terrorist who would rationalize the slaughter of a Westerner on the grounds that we subsidize the governments that oppress them, and as such are 'combatants' who should be killed?  That is the slippery slope that terrorism and wars against terrorism bring upon a population.

Yes, I know the response and have already heard it before writing this post.  So, dear pinko embryo-eater, what would you have done about Osama then?  Well, first, I would not invade another country to kill him.  That was our excuse for going into Afghanistan and Iraq, and you can see how that worked out.  We have paid over $3 trillion in the past decade, killed hundreds of thousands, including our own soldiers, for a war to supposedly get one man.  Tell me, now that bin Laden is dead, why are we still in Afghanistan?  To support President Karzai, who had to rig his last elections and whose brother is the largest heroin dealer in Asia (and living off the dole of the American taxpayer)?

No, I would have done something much different, other than not wasting a few trillion dollars invading countries, killing people, and turning my country into a praetorian state, shredding the very rights in our Constitution that we supposedly hold so dear.  I would have an international arrest warrant put out on Mr. bin Laden, impose sanctions on the countries harboring him (I should add, that includes our wonderful 'friends' in the Pakistani government that the American taxpayer gave $30 billion to since 9/11), and do something truly extraordinary.  I would have prosecuted him in a court of law, which is what you do with a murderer.

For those who think the law is a triviality and manifestation of bad intentions (thanks be to the efforts of nefarious types like James Madison), how would all of those fellow Americans cheering the past couple of weeks have reacted had the Cuban government sent in its version of a special forces squad (if this was ever possible) to openly assassinate Orlando Bosch?  Yes, that is right, the same Orlando Bosch who, as a right-wing anti-Castro activist, decided it best to blow up a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 78 people.  We, our government, the one way pay taxes to, trained Mr. Bosch, had an agent attend one the meetings in Washington DC, in which the said terrorist planned the bombing, and took this mass murderer in because of his past training from the CIA--thereby protecting Bosch from imprisonment, to which he lived out the last few decades of life as a free/plane-bombing terrorist.  Most Americans have no idea who this person was, sadly.  Well, what if the Cuban government had (without our consent) come into our country, in the name of vengeance (i.e., justice) for those innocent lives Bosch snuffed out, and shot a couple of bullets into his chest and head?  How many Americans would be cheering this?  As much as I disliked the man, I certainly would not have been one of them, anymore than with bin Laden.

Once we replace constitutions and the law with special operations, it is but a stepping stone for that same government to turn its barrels on its own population.  As I write this, and it is not the first time I have complained about it, our POTUS (the so-called pro-Islamic socialist) has compiled a hit list that includes American citizens, who are to be killed on sight and on the unilateral orders of our Commander in Chief.  No trials, no formal legal accusation, presentment, grand juries.  Nothing.  All it takes to be included on this terrorist hit list is the whim of our President.  

If this is the way a supposed liberal governs, do you think it will ever get any better under a Republican or subsequent Democratic administration?  Instinctively, we should already know the answer to this question.  It is the same as those who wondered several years ago what it would take to get a repeal of the Patriot Act, and how much longer would we tolerate allowing the NSA to catalog all of our phones calls (since October 2001) without so much as a court order or cause?  Now that Osama is dead, we have the answer.  Unless there is an intervention by the Supreme Court, our government is going to continue the suspension of our Constitution.  Our growing police state, the government monitoring of our lives, and periodic killing of the citizenry without charge, will resume and become a normalized, permanent feature of life in this republic.

The saddest part of all is that this is an issue that should unite the right and left (the so-called radical individualists on the libertarian right and the civil libertarian left), but so far it has not.  When the US House voted on a resolution announcing its love and approval of Osama's killing, not a single member had the guts to vote against it (no, dear right-wing Left, not even your beloved Ron Paul).  Only four members voted 'present', while the rest tripped over themselves to celebrate extralegal state killing under the guise of justice and anti-terrorism.  This is what we have become.

Whether or not the cheering, happy throngs of demonstrators in this country realize it they are pumping their fists in approval for something far beyond the death of Osama bin Laden.  It is the loss of our way of life as a constitutional republic.

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